Teach us to realize the brevity of life, so that we may grow in wisdom. ~ Psalm 90:12 (NLT)
When we are young, we have no concept of our own mortality – that this life of ours will eventually come to an end. So, we do stupid stuff to test the concept out. We climb to the tops of trees which begin to bend under our weight. We scale sandstone cliffs without a rope. (BTW, sandstone isn’t really a stone. It’s basically a cliff made up of dirt.) We drive faster than we should to see if we can freak out our passengers. Yeah, there are these and a million other things we do to test out whether we are mortal or immortal.
As we age, we gain some wisdom through our years of experience. The more we age, the more the end seems to loom larger. If death hasn’t found you after a few decades of life, it will eventually. A doctor friend of mine puts it like this: “All we do is try to extend life for a few hours, days, months, or years. Eventually, all of our efforts will fail, and the patient will die.” Indeed, it is one hundred percent true that you will die – unless Jesus comes back first.
No one likes to think about their own death. It’s kind of depressing. We want to focus on the good stuff. We want to focus on the joy. We want to focus on the fun. And, we should.
This Psalm, which is actually a prayer of Moses, gives us a reminder of the shortness of time we have in this world. It reads, “Teach us to realize the brevity of life, so that we may grow in wisdom.” In other words: This life is short. Don’t waste your time doing stupid superficial stuff. Yes, have fun, and enjoy it. But, also prioritize the things which are important: Loving God and loving others as ourselves. This is the wisdom which Moses is trying to help us remember.
So, how do we live our short life with wisdom? By remembering that this life is indeed short when compared to the eternity which awaits with Jesus. Use this life to prepare us for that one. We love Jesus individually and as His church. We share the love of God with others through our words and actions.
Today, and every day, focus not on the shortness of this life, but the eternity which awaits. Spend time deepening your relationship with Jesus; study, pray, praise, worship. And spend time sharing the love of God with others; show compassion, help those in need, use your finances and time to serve others. Life is short. Use it wisely.